Why People Hate

By now you’ve heard of the bombings at the finish line of yesterday’s Boston Marathon. Yesterday, it was one of the most tweeted trends, and today it will be the top news item.

When I heard about it, I alerted my running partners via text:

Me: “Explosions at Boston Marathon finish line. Fatalities. Check Twitter stream for Boston Marathon.”

Friend: “What is wrong with people?”

Me: “Hate. It started with Cain and Abel.”

Friend: “I just don’t get it.”

None of us get it. Not me. Not you.

Hate is unnatural. It defies nature in some perverse way that we sense, but can’t put our finger on. We can’t help but ask for a rational why, even though we know there is none. “What did we do to deserve this?” we wonder with Abel. But Cain’s hate just is, and we don’t get it.

Cain and Abel, by Il Tintoretto

[Cain and Abel, by Il Tintoretto]

Yesterday, after watching a bit of video of the explosion — which shows one runner collapsing near the finish line — I was left a bit dazed, like how I felt watching the World Trader Center collapse. It was a mixture of heartbreak and shock, like a deer staring stupidly into the oncoming headlights of hatred.

As I mulled over my own “I just don’t get it,” these words of Jesus came to mind:

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. — John 16:33, NIV

Jesus was with His disciples preparing them for the arrest, trial and crucifixion that He knew was only a day away. He warned them repeatedly that they would be hated because of Him. Add that to the fact that they were hated because they were Jews, or Galileans, or tax collectors.

Why do people hate?

Some will hate me because I’m American. Some will hate me because I’m caucasian. Some, because I’m male. And some will hate me because my hope is in Christ. I call myself by His name, and believe the things He taught about me and you, things that people hated Him for and got Him killed.

I don’t get it, but I do take heart. And if you belong to Christ, you can take heart, too.

He has overcome the world for His followers, and its hatred — for any reason — will not be the final word.

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